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February 2002, Week 4


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Jeffrey Clark <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 Feb 2002 10:43:04 -0500
text/plain (93 lines)
Well, Lang, darn it--you've corrected me on both counts.

I had not remembered the detail in Title 17, sec. 106(5) on film frames
included for their "display" value along with static art forms. As you
suggest, the case for grabs has to be made on section 107 fair use factors,
without the benefit of a frame grab being considered less than the whole of
a work within a work, so to speak. Since by this provision, a film frame is
essentially granted the copyrightable status of an individual work. (You
know already I think this is intellectually lame, and on top of that
promoted into law by commercial interests related to the existing market
for  individual images, rather than by justification through the nature of
the larger work. In short, the provision complicates some fair use defenses
more than they ought to be--at least to these eyes.)

On the situation of GWTW's copyright, I'm pretty sure I had read last year
a "there but for the grace of Bono goes its protection" remark in a
commentary article about the Randall case--but hadn't actually checked any
math myself when the observation came suddenly to mind and I passed it on.
(I thinks the reasoning of the case decision as it stands is sensible
though.) Just this past weekend I had occasion to review section 304 on the
duration of copyrights... and I must say, I prefer the boiled-down chart of
copyright coverage complications provided by Lolly Gasaway at:

Thanks for keeping me straight (though still annoyed at the law),


--On Wednesday, February 27, 2002 12:00 AM -0600 Automatic digest processor
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Date:    Mon, 25 Feb 2002 22:18:44 -0500
> From:    Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Reproducing stills and Fair Use
>> isolated frame grabs are a minor element of the film, and in a form which
> does not even represent >the film in the form it becomes an expressive
> work entitled to copyright protection
> Sorry but not true.  The individual images of a film are *explicitly*
> protected by US copyright law.  See Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 106(5).
> There are two separate issues here which are getting confused.  First is
> whether frame enlargements or video grabs are protected by copyright,
> which is clearly true.  Second is whether academic/critical use of these
> enlargements/grabs are allowable by the fair use exemption, which is
> probably true but will vary according to the situation.
> ------------------------------

Date:    Tue, 26 Feb 2002 12:13:40 -0500
From:    [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Reproducing stills and Fair Use

> Actually the case before the Supreme Court will NOT make
>GWTW PD until AT LEAST 2011. It involves the EXTENSION from
>75 years to 95 years so at most it will go back to 1927 unless

The extension to 95 years is for corporate authors; for individual authors
the extension went from 50 years to 70 years.  Both apply to works created
after Jan 1, 1978.  The point made in the original post is that GWTW
(novel) would have become public domain in 1992 based on copyright law at
the time of its original publication (1936 publication plus two 28 year
periods).  However it was the 1976 Copyright Act (the one that took effect
in 1978) that kept GWTW from becoming public domain by now *not* the Bono
Act.  The 1976 Act provided for a second renewal term of 47 years (up from
28) so that the total for a work created and published before 1978 was now
a total of 75 years from first publication.  This gives GWTW a public
domain date of 2011 and as Jessica points out this won't be affected at all
by the current case before the Supreme Court because that deals only with
the Bono Act.  Details in Title 17, Chapter 3, Section 304.  (If this is a
bit hard to follow you can see h!
ow much easier the 1976 Act made everything.)

However none of this was an issue in the Wind Done Gone case because the
validity of the GWTW copyright was never in question (you can see the
opinion at

Jeff Clark
Media Resources (MSC 1701)
James Madison University
[log in to unmask]
540-568-6770 (voice)
540-568-3405 (fax)

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